Putin isn't going on Tucker Carlson because he's confident, dude. He's not doing it because he has tons of options.
This is a Hail Mary from a master bullshitter whose chief skill is making people think he's in control of every situation, even when he's shitting his pants in front of the entire planet.
The real tragedy here is the human. Not a single Ukrainian should die by this man's hand, and every needless delay is an infuriating moral tragedy.
But in strategic terms...Russia is still fucked. It's utterly insane we're saying, with a straight face, "All Ukraine has for backup is the EU, and maybe America if we can flip a few Republicans, but Russia has NORTH KOREA AND IRAN backing it up!!!!"
Again: from a humanitarian perspective, a single North Korean shell can kill innocent people.
But in strategic terms? A very encouraging sign about how Russia views its industrial capacity.